The scripture from the Gospel of John has guided my heart and helps me remember that my call to become a sister began as a child by reading the book, Damien the Leper. During that time, I had a child’s dream of going to the Island of Molokai and working with lepers. And since that time, I credit my Benedictine Community for providing the opportunities in education and spiritual growth which have enabled me to follow my call to help others, especially in teaching prayer and spiritual guidance with a special passion for ministering to women.
Three events in my life have contributed to my formation and awareness of my gifts. The first was working in adult religious formation with Sister Marian Bellotti in Cheyenne, Wyoming. Through my experience, I became evermore aware of the keen sense of joy I experienced while working with adults.
The second event occurred at a Holy Apostle’s parish staff retreat in Sedalia, Colorado, almost a decade later. Father Ed Kinerk, the retreat facilitator, asked the staff members to name what gifts they needed from each other. Many of the staff indicated that they needed me to teach them about prayer and spiritual guidance.
The third incident happened at La Puente Shelter in Alamosa, when a severely bruised and battered woman remarked one day, “It didn’t bother me much, until he went after the children.” I realized at that moment how many women devalued their worth and gifts. This was another affirmation on my journey to minister to women and adults.
I believe that the greatest gift of women in the world and in the church is love and forgiveness. Often these gifts are denied or ignored. Women’s energy, creativity and capacity for love and forgiveness are gifts that need to be encouraged and celebrated. Just like the song says, but with a slightly different refrain, “What the world needs now are the gifts of love and forgiveness.” This brings others to negotiating, collaborating and creating solutions. Women must be encouraged to see their value and have awareness of their gifts by overcoming the fear of speaking out. Women of the less developed countries have so much to teach us about overcoming fear and acting courageously.
I will continue speaking out with great passion about women and the need for recognizing their own giftedness as I continue to teach about prayer and spiritual guidance.